MOSCOW, April 16 (R-Sport) – Russian police are searching the offices of North Caucasus Resorts as part of an investigation into its former chief, a former vice president of the Olympic committee who is suspected of stealing more than $97,000 from the company, the Interior Ministry said on Tuesday.
Investigators believe Akhmed Bilalov spent the money earned by the state-run firm which manages holiday resorts and promotes tourism in the southern Russian region, and used it for luxury travel abroad for himself and his friends.
“This [search] action is sanctioned as part of operations in the criminal abuse-of-office investigation into the former chiefs of the stated company,” the ministry said in a statement.
The case was initiated not long after Bilalov was blamed, in the presence of President Vladimir Putin, for holding up construction of the RusSki Gorki ski jump facility for the 2014 Winter Olympics. North Caucasus Resorts was the project’s chief contractor.
The Olympics are Putin’s pet project; the president has been named “the captain of the team” by chief organizer Dmitry Chernyshenko.
“How is it possible that the vice-president of the Olympic Committee is delaying development?” Putin asked on a tour of facilities in February, adding with apparent sarcasm: “Well done. You are really working well.”
Bilalov fled the country immediately after the remarks, which were broadcast on state television.